VETS Q&A

Rossendale Free Press - - Rossendale People - VICKI LARKHAM

Dear Vicki, My dog Bobby died a few months ago and I’m still strug­gling to cope with the loss. I still think about him and miss him a lot. Do you think get­ting a new pet would help me get over this? LOS­ING a much-loved pet is a dif­fi­cult time. The grief process goes through sev­eral stages, of­ten be­gin­ning with a sense of dis­be­lief and shock. This may be fol­lowed by pain, anger and de­pres­sion. It is of­ten help­ful to have sup­port from friends and fam­ily so think about talk­ing to them about your feel­ings. You can also think about us­ing a coun­sel­lor or a lo­cal sup­port or­gan­i­sa­tion. When to get a new pet is a per­sonal de­ci­sion. If you feel that you are still think­ing about Bobby a lot, it may be best to wait un­til you have en­tered the stage of ac­cep­tance. More in­for­ma­tion about pet be­reave­ment can be found at www.pdsa.org. uk/be­reave­ment. Dear Vicki, I have just got a puppy called Max and I’m try­ing to potty train him. What is the most suc­cess­ful method? THE best method is re­ward-based train­ing, which means giv­ing your puppy re­wards like a game or a cud­dle when he be­haves cor­rectly. To toi­let train Max, keep tak­ing him out­side and give him lots of praise when he goes to the toi­let in the right place. Re­peat this, then start in­tro­duc­ing a sig­nal so he un­der­stands that you want him to go to the toi­let. Al­ways use the same words, like ‘go now’ and ac­com­pany that with a hand sig­nal. He will soon start as­so­ci­at­ing the sig­nals with the praise, which will make him want to ‘go’. Even­tu­ally, you can just use the sig­nal. Ig­nore any mis­takes and don’t pun­ish your puppy for them as this is un­kind, causes anx­i­ety and slows learn­ing.

www.pdsa.org.uk

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